I have a guy working for me who is a phenomenal salesman. The problem is - he's not!
He doesn't think of himself as a sales person, and in fact he is still only starting out in the consulting industry and still needs to build up his confidence.
Yet every time he gets to meet people from within the game they almost immediately want to hire him.
This year I have (he has) sold six figures worth of work because people want to work with him in particular. He isn't a high flier, doesn't have any particularly scarce knowledge, and isn't "salesman smooth". (As the saying goes)
But he has two things going in his favor which are impossible to fake. He is incredibly authentic and sincere.
His authenticity comes from the fact that he has obviously been there, crawling knee high through grease and oil trying to fix machinery under intense amounts of pressure.
His sincerity comes from his direct approach, If its stupid, he is frank enough to say it is stupid. If we can't do it he will say so, and if we can he will not be backward in claiming it as a service we offer.
The result = Trusted Advisor
The clients love him, and as a sales person they don't see him coming. Actually neither does he, he doesn't see himself as working in sales - yet he does an incredibly good job at it.
Even the great Kevin Hogan, in an interview I did with him a few months ago, stated that authenticity and sincerity were the underlying principles of all influence.